Letters to the editor

Student questions
president evaluation process

Dear Editor,

Referring to the  November 5 issue of the Star, the headline “Board of Trustees evaluates Arminana,” is not really true, and the evaluation process is significantly misrepresented by the author.  Stated clearly in an open letter from the chancellor of the CSU system to the SSU community, the chancellor’s office will receive our comments, and “the written responses will be summarized into a confidential report that will be discussed with Dr. Arminana.  The report will be presented to the Board of Trustees.”  We can’t even read the report.  One person, the chancellor, controls the entire process.  The person being evaluated makes lots of money and recently received a large raise that appears to have been unwarranted.  You do the math.

The article says the evaluation process is meant to benefit the student body and entire university.  It would be hard to imagine a process better designed to facilitate corruption, silence opposition and criticism, and avoid benefit to students.  It takes place behind closed doors, in secret.  The process is also designed so the Board of Trustees will not have to evaluate university presidents.  They simply don’t have time.  They are presented with a mountain of reports of every imaginable kind on a regular basis, and usually accept the recommendations of bureaucrats like the chancellor.  Unless a loud noise is made about a particular issue, they are often unaware that an issue exists, even if they care.

The Star can publish individual, anonymous comments about Arminana from the large number of professors that have expressed no confidence in his performance.  They can publish letters of support.  Unless they contain false statements that are presented as fact, there is no legal restriction.  Arminana is a public person with limited rights to sue for libel or slander.  There is no compelling, honest reason to avoid this public discussion.

Last year the Star published an editorial decrying the tenure system and horrible professors.  The November 5 edition published a letter from a recent graduate that questions the purpose of GE classes.  A recent opinion piece described the relatively poor economic outcomes that SSU students can expect upon graduation.  Students do care about the quality of their education, but administrative priorities are directed otherwise.  Cuisine at the student center and music at the GMC are more important than library services, or raises for professors.  The Student Senate is concerned about plastic bottles instead of a plastic education.  Perhaps the students would be willing to wait until after graduation to join a country club.

 

John Laraway SSU student

 

Professor challenges
definition of “service”

Editor:

Recently, while I was standing in a queue at the grocery store, a fellow shopper came up to a uniformed serviceman, enthusiastically shook his hand, and loudly proclaimed his gratitude -- on behalf of all us, apparently -- for his “services” to our nation.

Now, I’m an educator. I’ve spent my entire professional life helping students grow, learn, develop their minds, enrich themselves for a better life, prepare themselves to be contributing members of society. No one has ever come running up to me in a supermarket and thanked me for my services. (Should I regularly wear my cap and gown when I go out in public?)

The serviceman’s career has been devoted to killing people and blowing things up.

Gives you some idea what our national priorities are, doesn’t it?

 

-- Rick Luttmann, PhD

    Professor of Mathematics